New Census data shows digital gaps at neighborhood level

The U.S. Census today released its 2017 American Community Survey data  on household Internet access and computer ownership for all of the nation’s 66,000 Census tracts.

Until now, this data has been released only for Census places (i.e. municipalities) with more than 20,000 residents, and only at the community-wide level. Today’s release marks the first time the Census’ “digital inclusion” statistics have become available for smaller communities, city neighborhoods and unincorporated areas.

So here are two maps that provide a first look at what the new, local ACS data reveals about the big differences in broadband access among neighborhoods and communities within Cuyahoga county… and even within the city of Cleveland.

Households with no Internet access of any kind

Based on survey responses from thousands of local households, the ACS estimates the number of households in each Census tract who have various kinds of home Internet access and those who have no home access of any kind (including smartphones, dialup modems, etc.)  This map shows the Census tracts in Cuyahoga County where more than 20% of households had no home Internet access in 2017, including tracts where the non-connected percentages were much higher.

(Tip: For a full-page view, click the little double arrow in the top left corner of the map.)

Percent of households with cable, fiber optic or DSL broadband connections

How many residents of your community have “real” high-speed broadband?  The ACS estimates the number of households in each tract that have Internet access via cable modem, fiber to the home, or DSL accounts. This map shows those number as percentages of all households in each tract.

We think these two maps pretty much speak for themselves. But there’s a lot more information in the new ACS data, and we’ll have a lot to say about it in the near future.